While I've very biased, I do really like BlogEngine.NET. It is a fine blog software and handles my simple blog well enough. However, there are a few features that are extremely nice and I wanted to take a moment to highlight them and make sure you are taking advantage of them if you are a BlogEngine.NET user.
1. Extensions Rock
When Mads Kristensen first introduced Extensions, I thought it was a cool idea, but I didn't really appreciate the power they could have on my blog. Since almost everything the blog does has an event, it is so easy to extend the software to do whatever you can think for it to do. Additionally, you can share that code with other BlogEngine.NET users or use extensions others have created to really enhance your blogging experience.
In the past few months, I've put together 2 extensions for my own use and have used a number of extensions that others have created and made available on the web. (Yes, I'll likely be making my extensions available soon, but you'll have to wait until then to learn what they are.)
If you haven't looked into them, check out this list of available extensions to get a taste of what they can do.
2. Complete Comment RSS
While I don't have a ton of comments to deal with on this blog, I never really liked getting comment notification in my inbox. I get enough emails and it just wasn't an ideal place for me to get notified of comments. I was thrilled when BlogEngine.NET put together Site Wide Comment RSS. By that, I mean one feed for all my comments. Having it in my feed reader seems like the perfect place for them to be.
In case you are unsure where this can be found, my comment feed is:
BlogEngine.NET also supports individual post comment RSS and I love that too. When I want to follow the feedback of something, I just add it to my reader. It is awesome and is found in most blog systems.
3. Great Live Writer Support
Windows Live Writer (or Live Writer as I think they are going by now) is a great tool for blogging and BlogEngine.NET has some great integration with it. In each release of BlogEngine.NET, we've added more and more features that can be taken advantage of inside Live Writer. Beyond the basics of writing posts, BlogEngine.NET even allows Live Writer to add new categories, handle tagging, add and edit pages, set slugs, and turn on/off comments. Combine this with the great plug ins available for Live Writer and you've got a handy blogging tool.
If you don't use Live Writer yet, you are really missing out.
4. Pages are first class citizens
While a blog is typically made up of post, pages can be an incredibly handy thing to have. In a personal blog like this one, it can make for a fine About me page, resume, or nice place for articles. However, they can be used more extensively and there really is no reason not too. They are not a side show in BlogEngine.NET.
Pages can be set to be your front page and even link into related posts. They are searchable and can really fill out your site nicely. (While I don't use pages much in the blog, I do have a BE site that takes much better advantage of pages.)
5. Theming is very easy
I've had a bunch of different blog systems over the years and I've done a little theme work in a few of them. BlogEngine.NET is just so easy to use. If you've had any experience working with ASP.NET (and I mean any) you can quickly figure out how to move things around and make them look more how you'd like. If you are a bit more adventurous, you can convert a free template or even make your own theme without having a deep knowledge of BlogEngine.NET. I remember being shocked that I was able to make my first BlogEngine.NET theme in a 2 hour window and it seemed I spent half that time making decisions on where I wanted items verses trying to figure out how to do it (and that was before I joined the dev team and had spent any time really looking through the code.)
The next version of BlogEngine.NET will make customizations even easier, but if you've ever wanted a unique look for your blog, you own it to yourself to see how easy it really is now. I made a theming screencast a while back that walk you through make one from scratch, talking through each step and it runs about 25 minutes. If you start by copying an existing theme, you would likely cut your time in half.